ICSFDC News Alerts

Sri Lanka: New assessment shows 74% of Sri Lanka’s freshwater fish threatened with extinction by Malaka Rodrigo August 03,2020   |  Source: Mongabay

Surveys carried out in the early 1980s in the many reservoirs in Sri Lanka’s dry zone showed abundant populations of the red-fin labeo (Labeo lankae), an endemic species of frewshwater fish. Reports indicated the fish was also available at local fish markets. But decades later, it has disappeared from the reservoirs it was known to inhabit, a fate it shares with many other freshwater fish across Sri Lanka. In fact, a recent assessment of the island’s freshwater fish shows three-fourths of endemic species are facing extinction.

The National Red List is updated regularly as taxonomic revisions result in adding or removing species. The 2020 assessment shows 139 freshwater fish species, 61 of which are found only on the Indian Ocean island. Of the endemic species, the red list classifies 12 as critically endangered, 24 as endangered, and nine species as vulnerable. It also lists five species as near threatened, two as data deficient, and the rest as being of least concern in terms of their conservation status. Thirty-six non-endemic freshwater fish species were also assessed under the red list review, with eight listed as threatened.

Threatened endemics

Sampath Goonetillake, IUCN Sri Lanka’s senior program officer for biodiversity and one of the assessors of the

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Years in Support of Small Scale Fishworkers (1986 - 2018)